Bright lights, big city
New York Travel Blog› entry 10 of 23 › view all entries
October 2004, my first day ever in Manhattan. I climb up from underground and get blinded by the lights. Not the sun, it's cloudy, but by the advertisings. Huge digitaly animated panels glareing in every imaginable colour that makes even the sun look pale, let alone a rainbow. The streets are crowded with people likewise colourful, but the cars seem to be all yellow. It's loud, but not too loud, it's crowded but still there's room for everyone. As I walk along, I lift my eyes and stare at the walls around me. Wow, tall. Tall buildings. Skyscrapers. Why would anyone want to live so high up above the ground? I feel like fallen from planet Mars. Like a hill-billy who has stepped outside the boundaries of her tiny village for the very first time. Like an Amish on rumspringe.
Wait a minute! This is not the first time I'm in a big city.
Speaking of cakes: I've tried various desserts throughout the world, and have just added another favorite: donuts. Could drown myself in them.
Since my friends are at work, I go sightseeing by myself. I have what will turn out to be a reliable travel guide ("Top 10 New York" by Eleanor Berman, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, UK), a map and an open mind. The language is no problem, and since I had just returned from a California/Nevada/New Orleans roundtrip where it had always been pretty easy to start a conversation with the locals, I hoped this to be so in NY as well. Despite of my friend's advice "Don't look anyone in the eyes, don't talk to anyone and don't go further than 110th street". Well, already broke one rule: how can you speak to someone without looking him/her in the eyes? Oops, broke rule no. 2 as well, I guess. Now let's see, I want to go to Harlem. My reliable guide recommends a visit to a church service with a gospel choir. To be precise, the Abessinian church on 138th street. Now what? Ok, I'll get back to that later. Can't brake all the rules on one day, right?
I decided to start my Manhattan sightseeing trip from the south, walking my way through to the north. And this turned out to be a good decision.